Not Just Another Summer at Camp

Today’s Cup of Tea: Sadly, I feel I must be honest--tonight it’s a cup of Talenti Coffee Chocolate Chip Gelato (which I do highly recommend). It pairs perfectly with a charcoal face mask and a fuzzy blanket after a long day of classroom prep.

I love summer camp; I feel like I always have loved it. After attending camp for five summers as a camper, I jumped when the opportunity arose for me to be a staff member. Summer camp ministry had been the most consistent thing in my adult life--more consistent than the college(s) I attended, the jobs I took after graduation, the places I have lived (again, in my adult years)--it was always a community that I instantly felt a part of and where I felt valued.

But this year, as the month of May charged full speed ahead to the ending of a whirlwind school year, I began to doubt my ability to “do camp”. I was coming off my first year of teaching, with a new understanding of what exhaustion means. I came down with a bug over graduation weekend--the twelfth time I had been sick that school year--so it almost seemed fitting that I spend that weekend and post week fighting a fever and a deep-seeded cough. Immediately following post week, I was to fly out to start in on summer camp, and yet this time, something inside me questioned if I could actually do it. And yet, at the beginning of June, I boarded a plane, the cough still imbedded deep in my chest.

This summer was different. This summer began like no other. Instead of heading into a short few days of adstaff meetings preparing for the staff to arrive, I joined a group of young adults, many of them camp staff, in helping with the Love Reality Tour at the Seventh-day Adventist church in Wahiawa, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The Love Reality Tour is a ten day presentation about your identity, purpose, and worth in Christ. It a presentation of the gospel, of God’s love, spoken in a way that impacted every single person who attended, both young and old. Each day was filled with breathtaking sights around the island, good company, good food, deep and meaningful conversation, and most of all--the Good News, that we are sons and daughters of God, that we are set free from sin, that we are chosen, and that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (read Ephesians 1, starting in verse 3--this is for you too!).

 I can’t say this was all brand new information--but this time, it became real.

And now, I can’t wait for this school year. The gelato and fuzzy blanket help with the physical exhaustion from the long prep day (which yes, included a few freak-outs realizing that summer is over)--but I can’t wait for the precious souls I get to interact with each and every day. I can’t wait to tell them over and over that God LOVES them, that they are His child above all else--above what the world screams at them, above what others label them as, above what they think of themselves.

This is why I teach. 

And right now, there is nothing else I’d rather be doing.

Well, I wouldn’t mind chasing another golden sunset. 

[Endnote: I will also begin to post shots from my time in Hawaii this summer, there were some breathtaking views that I can't keep to myself.]